Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

Cold Earth is the seventh book in Ann Cleeves’ bestselling Shetland series

Cold Earth (Shetland Island, #7)

Blurb:

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.

My thoughts:

I loved the first 6 books in the Shetland series and Cold Earth is no exception. It works on all levels – a murder mystery to solve, with beautiful descriptions of the landscape, conveying a real sense of place, convincing characters with realistic dialogue, a well paced plot and above all a writing style that doesn’t intrude on the story, but leads you to keep on turning the pages from the beginning to the end. I featured this book in this My Friday post, quoting the opening sentence and a teaser from page 56.

The dead woman’s identity puzzles everyone on the island, although one person must know who she is as among the things found in the debris left in the croft is an unsigned letter addressed to Alis saying what a joy it is to welcome her back to the island.  Perez felt her exotic appearance and black hair and eyes could indicate that like him she was of Spanish descent. He and Sandy Wilson, his sergeant are joined by Chief Inspector Willow Reeves (originally from the Hebrides) from the Inverness team to head up the investigation. Perez is both troubled and distracted by her, but realises just how much he wants her to be in Shetland with him running the investigation.

As usual Perez works very much on his own, but Sandy is gaining more confidence in his detecting skills and helped by Perez he makes a valuable contribution, as they eventually discover the identity of the dead woman, why she was on the island and why she was killed.

If you haven’t read any of the Shetland books, but have seen the TV series, you’ll notice that there are some significant changes – notably in the characters of Cassie, Fran’s daughter who is still a child in the books but has grown up in the TV stories, and the relationship between her father, Duncan Hunter and Perez. And Douglas Henshall, who plays the part of Perez, is not physically like Jimmy Perez – Perez has long dark hair with Spanish ancestry in his blood, whereas Douglas Henshall is a redheaded Scot.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2376 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1447278216
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market edition (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Source: I bought it
  • My Rating: 4*

The Shetland Series – the books read well as stand-alones, but I think it’s better to read them in order as you can then follow the development of the main characters.:

Challenges:

8 thoughts on “Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves”

    1. I’d read some of the Vera and Shetland books before they were adapted for TV and much prefer the books. It really irritates me when they change the plot and even go to the extent of changing the characters and in one episode (can’t remember which) they even changed the killer!

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  1. I’m so g lad you liked this as much as you did, Margaret. Cleeves is so good, isn’t she, at conveying a sense of place and local culture. And I do like this particular setting. I’ve a soft spot, too, for past crimes that leave their mark in the present…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’ve told you that I’m hoping to start this series in print this year. Now that it is complete, I can take my time reading it. Did you know that Ann Cleeves will have a new series to begin in the fall (think it’s in the fall)? New setting, new characters. Fun, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Margaret, the new book will be out in September and the title is THE LONG CALL (think that’s right). It’s a ‘Two Rivers’ mystery, whatever that means. I can’t find a description of it yet or a cover. Can’t wait!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Kay! I’ve found that it is to be published by Minotaur Books in the UK – expected date 3 September.

          Goodreads has this description – ‘In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

          Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

          The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

          An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers.’

          Sounds good!

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